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Collaboration with Nursing in Computer-aided Design of Emergency Rooms

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 2: VR, AR, and CAD

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Robert P. Leland Oral Roberts University

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Robert Leland has taught engineering at Oral Roberts University since 2005. Prior to that he served on the faculty at the University of Alabama from 1990 - 2005. His interests are in control systems, engineering education, additive manufacturing and stochastic processes. He has participated in engineering education research through the NSF Foundation Coalition, NSF CCLI and NSF Department Level Reform programs.

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Rachael Valentz Oral Roberts University

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Rachael Valentz has taught various nursing courses at Oral Roberts University for six years. Previously, she worked as staff in the simulation lab assisting students with hands-on training. Rachael's nursing experience includes 14 years of ICU work throughout the country.

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Collaboration With Nursing in Computer Aided Design of Emergency Rooms

This work in progress describes a collaboration between first year Engineering students and senior Nursing students in the 3D design of emergency rooms (ER) using the CAD software SolidWorks. For the engineering students, the nursing students served as a customer for their designs. For the nursing students, with practical training and experience in various hospital environments including some ER, this provided an opportunity to value observation of details and articulate the need for a functional ER room to the engineers. Extra credit was given for features that addressed COVID-19.

Emergency rooms must be designed to handle the expected number of patients, be flexible to accommodate the varying needs of patients, contain sufficient general supplies, and allow for introducing additional portable equipment into the room as needed. All supplies and equipment must be rapidly accessible. Design features, such as locating electrical outlets at above counter heights, are not always obvious, but can save valuable time in delivering life-saving care.

The project was conducted as one option for a major class project in engineering graphics, which emphasizes 3D design in SolidWorks. The project runs about three weeks. The engineering and nursing students were divided into 8 teams of 5-6 with three nursing students per team. Due to COVID-19, all classes and activities were online, so meetings were held using Zoom with breakout rooms. There was an initial meeting, and then the teams communicated periodically during the project. Most of the teams focused on designing a single room, however one team, after receiving approval, designed an entire facility.

Our original vision was to conduct virtual reality walkthroughs using an HTC Vive, which SolidWorks will interface with very easily. Due to the shutdown of in-person classes, and the risks of sharing a headset, we were not able to do this. The students were still able to obtain an on-screen walkthrough to experience their designs from the inside, however fully immersive views can provide a very different perspective. We hope to use the VR walkthroughs if and when conditions improve.

Both the nursing and engineering students benefited from having to communicate across disciplinary lines. The engineering students were required to listen and understand emergency rooms in a new way and incorporate customer information into their designs. They were also able to use their creativity and CAD design skills in consciously seeking to help people in their design effort. Critical thinking, observation skills, and interdisciplinary communication are desired skills for nursing students. Senior nursing students who were about to graduate benefited in practicing and growing in these skills through the creative interdisciplinary project.

We intend to repeat this exercise in Spring 2021, with more structured interaction between the two majors and written feedback from both groups of students. The use of the Vive for a VR walkthrough will probably be attempted in 2022.

Leland, R. P., & Valentz, R. (2021, July), Collaboration with Nursing in Computer-aided Design of Emergency Rooms Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36807

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